Almost no one likes to speak publicly, and as much as you don’t want to admit it, you know that the first thing you thought when you were asked to fill a special place in the bridal party was: “Oh God, I bet I have to give a speech.” Your thoughts weren’t on garter shopping or invitation printing – they were already working through writers block. It really isn’t a big deal. Simple, light, positive and refreshingly brief speeches are the most fun to listen to. Honestly, most of us just want to skip listening to speeches and get straight on to the open bar. That sentiment doesn’t quiet fear for everyone. So, here are some quick tips to make your speech writing (and the guests’ speech listening) a lot less painful:

1. Keep it Short
Nothing is worse than a speech that rambles on forever when the guests can see the buffet table calling their name across the ballroom. Your speech is your time to express gratitude/love/well wishes/etc. to the happy couple, but do so briefly. If you analyze all of the boring speeches you’ve ever heard at weddings, you’ll find that most of them are expressing the same thought over and over again. This can make for some lengthy speeches and some bored audiences. A short speech will also be easier to remember, so you want to stay glued to an index card throughout your time with the mic.

2. Tell a Story
Another good way to make sure that you won’t forget what you want to say when you step under the spotlight is to tell a story. Stories are also more interesting and tend to express your feelings for the couple without the drag of endless clichéd repetition. There are a million ways to say, “You’re my best friend, [BRIDE],” but you should chose the one that is unique to the relationship you share with her; hence the anecdote. A story SHOWS us what your relationship is like; they don’t just TELL us.

3. But not THAT Story
Leave the embarrassing and inappropriate stories for the rehearsal dinner. I thought this went without saying during the wedding I recently attended, where the best man spent ten minutes recounting the first time he and the groom went to a strip club together. Though the story was objectively pretty funny, it wasn’t really the right time and place for the telling of that particular happy memory. In short, remember your audience.

Templates are utilized in high school and college English classes for a reason – they may not be perfect, but they’ll get you started. Try some of them out, and see if they knock you out of your maid of honor/best man speech writers block:

“The first time [BRIDE/GROOM] told me about [BRIDE/GROOM], I was sure they would end up meeting at the altar. [BRIDE/GROOM] couldn’t stop talking about the way he/she ___________”

“I’m pretty sure I knew that [THE COUPLE] was going to get married before they did. You could just tell by the way they __________”

“Not every couple can make marriage work, but I know that [THE COUPLE] has what it takes. I know this because ___________”